New Zealand’s Silver Ferns Claim World Cup Title Over Australia

The Netball World Cup has now been completed with New Zealand’s Silver Ferns running out victors – defeating Australia by a heartbreaking one solitary point. Australia 51 / New Zealand 52.

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For the first time in the sport’s history, the World Cup winning team were ultimately rewarded with a sponsors prize of $300,000 divided amongst the team members. Each player received $25,000. Keep in mind these players were virtually full time in their preparation for the World Cup for over 6 months – so this will be a most welcome relief.

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Read about it here:

World Cup-winning NZ netballers rewarded with unprecedented payment after outcry

  • Public campaign nets Silver Ferns $25,000 each
  • Sponsors contribute towards bonus fund for players

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A public outcry has helped the Silver Ferns receive an unprecedented winning bonus payment of $300,000 following their triumph at the Netball World Cup. Netball NZ has announced each player in the 12-strong squad will be granted $25,000, a breakthrough in a sport that struggles for commercial cut-through despite its high participation rate.

A group of sponsors contributed towards a bonus fund after it was revealed the players would not receive a cent of prize money following their 52-51 win over Australia in last Sunday’s final in Liverpool.

While the players did not complain, a public debate was generated around the disparity of remuneration levels in top level sport. It was revealed the New Zealand men’s cricketers would share a prize pool of about $3m for their runners-up finish at the World Cup a week earlier.

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NNZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie said it was a good feeling to reward the players, who are otherwise playing solely for pride internationally in a highly demanding sport.

“Elite players continue to work relentlessly for their love of the game without expectations of high remuneration, but this is a huge step forward and we are very grateful to our partners, who we could not do this without,” she said.

Leading players in New Zealand’s domestic league are reportedly paid close to $100,000 when third-party agreements are factored in.

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The Silver Ferns’ next assignment is the four-Test Constellation Cup against Australia in October.

NNZ is still to confirm if inspiring coach Noeline Taurua will be in charge for the series, allowing her time to find her feet again in her other role as coach of the Sunshine Coast Super Netball team.

Source: theguardian.com

Netball is closing in on becoming a fully professional sport. With Free to Air Television coverage, great Stadiums and facilities, the sport has one of the highest per capita participation rates of any sport in Australia.

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Most junior competitions are being enabled to play many more games on genuine sprung timber sports flooring. With Federal funding of larger sports stadiums in both Suburban and Regional areas; and with the Victorian State Government funding both new schools and existing schools to build high quality Sports Stadiums with genuine Timber Sports Flooring, the general standard of competition is certainly on the rise.

Nellakir are the leading experts in the Construction and Maintenance of genuine sprung timber sports flooring in both Victoria and Tasmania. From initial construction, utilising ASF/Horner FIBA approved timber flooring systems exclusively, to annual maintenance including re-surfacing and linemarking, to weekly or bi-weekly professional cleaning of your Timber Sports Flooring, always call Nellakir on 03 9467 6126. If you prefer, leave your contact details here for a prompt reply. Professional and proficient – engage the best.

Arrange a free no-obligation quote today and ensure your competition and teams are always playing on a premium playing surface.

Nellakir – Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Netball – Front and Centre Stage – The World Cup 2019.

The World Cup of Netball kicks off in Liverpool England this Friday the 12th of July.
Australia is scheduled to play Northern Ireland in the first session of the tournament at 11am, prior to the opening ceremony scheduled for 3pm the same day. In session 3, Australia will play Zimbabwe at 9am on July 13th. On Sunday the 14th Australia will play Sri Lanka at 3pm, Monday the 15th then hopefully it’s into the finals after qualifying is dispensed with.

With matches each day determined by the competition results, the World Cup Final will be played after a week of non-stop action on Sunday the 21st of July.

Here are some of the key factors to watch as the competition develops.

Ten things to watch out for at the Netball World Cup

England have broken the antipodean stranglehold with Commonwealth Games gold, and the World Cup starting on Friday is the most anticipated ever

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Australia’s Caitlin Bassett (centre) comes into the tournament shouldering a great deal of pressure. Photograph: Simon Watts/Getty Images

1) The role physicality will play … or not

In the world’s top leagues – in Australia, New Zealand and England – netball has reached a new level of power and physicality. It hasn’t been “non-contact” for years. It’s inevitable the way such strength is adjudicated by neutral umpires, who aren’t used to the brute force displayed in the big leagues, will become a talking point. If players accustomed to a high level of physicality don’t adjust in Liverpool, they’ll give up too many penalties – which may tip the balance in a tight contest.

2) Roses in a pressure cooker

As reigning Commonwealth champions, hosts England have never been under so much pressure. The former England international and UK Superleague coach Tamsin Greenway says the English public expect the Roses to win. “The team is coming into this tournament confidently,” she says. “It’s not that they think they’re better than everybody, but they’re favourites and they should be.” How the squad, captained by 90-Test veteran Serena Guthrie, handles that pressure will define it for years to come.

3) Beware the wounded Kiwi

While many expect a Diamonds v Roses final, the Silver Ferns shouldn’t be discounted. Noeline Taurua has picked one of the most experienced New Zealand sides to contest a World Cup. Her team boasts 781 Tests of experience: a staggering 443 more international games than Australia. With more than 100 caps each, Maria Folau, Casey Kopua, Laura Langman and Katrina Rore will need to step up if the four-times world champions are to redeem their embarrassing Commonwealth Games performance, where they missed a medal for the first time.

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Serena Guthrie will captain hosts England in Liverpool Photograph: Nigel French/PA

4) Blowtorch on Bassett

To say Caitlin Bassett carries pressure into Liverpool is a gargantuan understatement. The 193cm shooter is the most experienced Diamond, captain and the side’s main route to goal. She’s also coming back from an injury – and isn’t in scintillating form. The 31-year-old fractured her forearm in January and has lacked consistency since. Greenway says the Diamonds team heaps expectation on Bassett. “She’ll be feeling that. It’ll be interesting to see how she responds.”

5) Jamaica’s depleted shooting stocks

Jamaica typically has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tall shooters, but this year they will have to rely heavily on their 198cm captain, Jhaniele Fowler, to hold down goal shooter. The 29-year-old, who has several niggling injuries, will have limited backup from 198cm Romelda Aiken, who is returning from bone stress to her tibia, while Shimona Nelson is out injured. The young goal attack Shanice Beckford is a genuine star, especially from distance, but there will still be plenty riding on Fowler’s broad shoulders.

6) Gretel’s moment to shine?

Netball’s most polarising figure, the Australian shooter Gretel Tippett, might just silence her critics with a breakout performance. Tippett – who came to the game late after playing high-level basketball as a junior – tends to elicit a strong response from fans, who call the 26-year-old everything from reckless to arrogant for her unorthodox style, physicality and “lay-up”. Having improved her accuracy and game sense in recent months, Tippett is set to deliver a “big whatever” to doubters, Greenway reckons.

7) Proteas ready to bloom

South Africa have their best chance in 25 years of winning a medal . The side know it and their coach, Norma Plummer, knows it. Hopes are high because six of the Proteas play in Australia, and others in England and New Zealand. For Plummer, who took the reins before the 2015 World Cup, that means her side can mix it with the finest. While she is “quietly confident”, the captain Bongiwe Msomi is more emphatic: “We are going for a medal.”

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The tournament is likely to be Geva Mentor’s England swansong. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

8) A fitting farewell for a Mentor

In the dictionary, next to big-game player, there may as well be a picture of the England goalkeeper Geva Mentor, who first represented her country aged 16 in 2001 and was pivotal in the Roses’ Commonwealth glory. In a sparkling career spanning three Commonwealth Games and now five World Cups, the 34-year-old has never won a medal on home soil. And she probably won’t be at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. So if history knocks in Liverpool, expect the 138-cap veteran to answer.

9) The H2 equation

The “moving circle” of shooters Helen Housby and Jo Harten has been crucial to the growth of the Roses, but the duo may come up against tactical resistance this tournament. Greenway – who has applied to replace Tracey Neville as England coach after the tournament – says opposition sides will have been studying “H2” carefully and have plans in place to combat them. If opponents have the answer to H2, the Roses may struggle.

10) Playing through, without time-outs

The Australia coach, Lisa Alexander, is acutely aware she has to “de-programme” her Diamonds when it comes to time-outs – which are allowed in the Super Netball competition but not at the World Cup. That goes for the other 19 internationals who play in the league too. Players have to work out how to “play through” matches without the benefit of numerous tactical breaks, which can significantly shift momentum. On-court leadership will come to the fore. “We’ve got to have that concentrated effort, it’s key,” Alexander says.

Source: theguardian.com

Australia’s World Cup position is in no small way influenced by the spectacular quality of its domestic competition and the facilities its team members use week in and week out right across Australia.

Here in Australia more and more juniors are getting the opportunity to play on premium grade sprung timber sports flooring as they learn the game and hone their skills. School construction programs and federally funded stadiums have been constructed right across Australia.

Here in Victoria and Tasmania, Nellakir are the leading experts in the construction and maintenance of all Timber Sports Flooring. From regular cleaning after of before competition, to annual re-surfacing and re-lining, call Nellakir on 03 9467 6126 for a free consultation and quotation as required. Or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Netball and Nellakir – The Perfect Combination

Netball is increasing its public interest exponentially. The National competition has major ‘Free to Air’ coverage and the sport is proving to be the most popular women’s sport after Swimming.

Nellakir are proud to be involved with providing the very best in premium Sports Flooring for the highest levels of Netball competition throughout Victoria.

The Sports advancement in Western Australia demonstrates its meteoric rise in popularity.

From the ABC news today…

Netball fever takes hold in WA amid record sponsorship deal and increasing fan base

It is a frontier year for netball in Western Australia.

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The Fever is dealing with higher expectations after a grand final appearance last year, a permanent move to Perth Arena and a new lucrative sponsorship deal that is worth a record $5 million to WA netball over the next three years.

The sport is now in rarefied air, and it has been a progression built on years of hard work.

As the Fever won its way to a maiden grand final berth it became the main show in town — crowds were big, media attention was high and community interest in the Perth team peaked.

The grand final against Sunshine Coast last year was watched by more than 1 million people across Australia, and the club’s 16 games over the season were streamed by more than 1 million people.

The Fever also did 170 media appearances in the week leading up to the decider.

Netball top team sport for girls

Across the league, more than 6.7 million viewers tuned in to at least part of a match in 2018, with a match average of 140,000 viewers — an increase of 25.9 per cent on the year before.

With those sorts of figures, it is no wonder the Fever has just signed the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of women’s sport in WA.

The game also remains strong at grassroots level.

According to the Australian Sports Commission, netball remained the number one team sport for girls last year despite Australian football, cricket, soccer and rugby all making concerted efforts to increase the number of females playing their respective sports.

Swimming was still the overall favourite, accounting for 33.9 per cent of girls aged 0-14, with netball at 13.3 per cent.

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Dancing, gymnastics, football, basketball, dance sports, athletics, tennis and hockey rounded out the top 10.

A total of 1.2 million people play netball in Australia, and 230,000 of those are in WA.

Nielsen Sports said more than one in five Australians are fans or consumers of netball — and that is something which makes it even more appealing for broadcasters, according to media analyst Steve Allan.

“One of the things about netball is it has a very attractive demographic from a telecaster’s point of view,” he said.

“It is nearly all 14 to 34[-year-old] females. That is a very attractive group.”

‘The sport has moved to new heights’

Netball Australia has formed an independent commission ahead of this year’s Super Netball season, following the framework set out by leagues such as the AFL and NRL, with the aim of being the top sporting league for women globally.

Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said it was another big step in the right direction.

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“I think this is the next iteration of the sport in this country, and certainly under the [Netball Australia] leadership of [CEO] Marne Fechner and [chair] Paolina Hunt, the sport has moved to new heights,” she said.

“We have seen this in other sports — once you move to an independent commission, you get different levels of expertise in this space.”

In an increasingly crowded sporting market, netball is stronger than it has ever been.

Source: abc.net.au

To ensure your Timber Sports Flooring is always presented in premium playing condition, contact Nellakir on 03 9467 6126 and arrange a free consultation on all your maintenance requirements. Nellakir offer a sensible annual maintenance package. The Nellakir team can competently provide re-surfacing, re-lining and where required re-sanding. Call now or leave your details here for a prompt reply

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring for Champions

Samsung Diamonds win third straight Quad Series

As reported earlier the Australian Netball team recently competed in the third round of the Quad Series, conducted in England in late January. The Diamonds prevailed, winning their third series trophy.

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Nellakir meanwhile is continuing to build and construct new courts around Victoria in Sprung Timber Sports Flooring, ensuring all juniors around the state get the chance to hone their skills on a professional surface and develop into tomorrows champion Netball players.

Nellakir recently completed the expansion of the Myrtleford Indoor Sports Centre with a new gymnasium featuring a full size court for Netball and Basketball competition. The Sports Flooring supplied is from ASF/Horner and meets FIFA requirements.

As well at Carrum Downs Secondary College Sports Centre, another Gymnasium, again featuring a full size court for Netball and Basketball has been completed.

In Werribee, Nellakir have installed a new Squash Court (also suitable for Badminton) at the University of Melbourne’s campus situated there.

At the new South Melbourne Park Primary School a Gymnasium with a full size court has been completed and in the near future Nellakir will be pleased to announce new specialist sprung timber flooring at a popular provincial theatre in South West Victoria.

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The Diamonds are powering forward and at Nellakir we salute them. But stop for a minute and imagine – in the future it could be your daughter pounding those timber boards for Australia. Nellakir – Champion floors for future champions.

Here is the full report on The Diamonds Quad Series for your interest.

Samsung Diamonds Win Third Straight Quad Series Title

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The Diamonds have won their third straight Quad Series trophy, despite going down 52 to 49 in a tough final match of the series to England in London’s Copper Box Arena.

The equation was clear at the beginning of the game; the Diamonds would secure a third-straight Quad Series victory with a win over the Roses or the trophy would remain in England if the home team could pull off a five goal win.

The task was made all the more difficult when starting goal keeper Courtney Bruce was ruled out of the match with a concussion. She joined captain Caitlin Bassett and vice-captain Gabi Simpson on the sidelines who both suffered injuries earlier in the tour.

The game got off to a spectacular start as both teams made brilliant plays up either end of the court.

Emily Mannix couldn’t have asked for a better start filling in for the injured Courtney Bruce, nabbing two interceptions and shutting out multiple English advances as the Diamonds took a five goal lead into the first break.

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But, thanks to a huge 13-goal quarter from substitute Rachel Dunn, England came storming back in the second forcing some uncharacteristic mistakes from the Australians and ending the first half with a 27 to 24 goal lead.

Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander made a slew of changes at half time, replacing shooter Caitlin Thwaites with Steph Wood, Kate Moloney for Kelsey Browne and Jo Weston for April Brandley.

The Roses continued to push the Diamonds, flying out to a six-goal lead early in the third quarter, but thanks to some strong shooting and athletic defending by substitutes Steph Wood and April Brandley, Australia were able to stay in touch, dragging it back to a four goal deficit at the end of the third.

It was a riveting final quarter of the match as both teams put the foot down and went hard until the final whistle. The Diamonds fought back and went ahead by two goals with five minutes remaining but the Roses were too strong, taking the game by 3 goals.

It was an intense way to finish what has been an incredible Quad Series and has set the stage for a huge Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July.

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The Diamonds players will head back to Australia in the coming days, with all players set to continue preparations for the start of the Suncorp Super Netball season which kicks off in April.

The squad will regroup this March in Canberra where World Cup preparations will continue.

Source: netball.com.au

Call now on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here for a free no-obligation quotation on either expert construction of new Sports Flooring or a sensible annual maintenance program that ensures your court facility offers a premium surface for all competitors.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

 

Fast Five Netball World Series 27th – 28th October, Melbourne

Nellakir are proud to be associated with the Fast Five Netball World Series.

A temporary Sprung Timber Sports Flooring supplied exclusively by AF Horner / Australasian Sports Flooring is being installed by Nellakir for this spectacular Event.

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Fast5 Netball World Series

Fast5 is netball like you’ve never seen before; featuring dynamic rules changes including five players a side, shorter quarters, power plays and super shots!

The Fast5 Netball World Series is fan focused with a huge emphasis on fun. The event is the perfect opportunity to get your friends and teammates together, pulling out your costumes and enjoy a weekend full of world class netball and entertainment.

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The Fast5 Netball World Series will be hosted at Hisense Arena, Melbourne – 27-28 October 2018.

Pre-sale tickets are available from Thursday 19 July (9am AEST) to Sunday 22nd July (11.59pm AEST). Sign up here for access and to be sent the link and code Thursday morning prior to sale time. Tickets will be available to the general public on Monday 23rd July 2018.

2018 will be the third and final time the Fast5 World Series will be played on Australian soil. England won the 2017 tournament, following on from New Zealand winning in 2016, so Australia will be vying for top place in their final hosting year at the 2018 event. The Fast5 World Series features the world’s best teams and players, including Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, Malawi and South Africa.

All teams will play six 24 minute games across the two-day series. Each team will feature on both days of competition, with finals held on Sunday. 1000 goals are estimated to be scored across the two-day series.

The Event

The Fast5 Netball World Series is provides a great opportunity for fans to witness netball’s newest format on Australian soil, with the action-packed two-day event to be held in October at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena in 2018, (dates to be announced). Fast5 is netball like you’ve never seen before; featuring dynamic rules changes including five players a side, shorter quarters, power plays and super shots.

The Fast5 Netball World Series will feature the world’s best, with teams from Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, Malawi and South Africa.

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All teams will play six 24 minute games across the two-day series. Each team will feature on both days of competition, with finals held on Sunday.

Melbourne has won the rights to host the Fast5 Netball World Series, which began in 2009, from 2016 to 2018. The 2018 event will be the final year of hosting, so be sure to sign up to the enewsletter database to be the first in the know when tickets are going on sale.

Get your friends and teammates together, pull out your costumes and enjoy a weekend full of world-class netball and entertainment.

Source: fast5worldseries.com.au

Nellakir are Victoria’s leading suppliers of all Timber Sports Flooring. For expert Construction and Maintenance of all competition level and FIFA approves Sports Flooring, Call Nellakir no on 9467 6126.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring of Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Australia takes lead in Netball Quad series with win over arch rival England

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At Nellakir, Victoria and Tasmania’s leading provider of Sprung Timber Sports Floors, we take more than a passing interest in how our National teams fare in both Netball and Basketball. Nellakir built the two major show courts at the Victorian Netball Centre in Royal Park, so it was with some satisfaction that we note Australia’s victory over England in that sport (Netball) at the Netball Quad series being played in Newcastle yesterday, exacting revenge on the team that beat them in the Commonwealth Games in April.

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Victorian State Netball Centre

Championship level Netball requires a championship level surface. Nellakir use and recommend ASF Horner Sports Flooring systems for truly professional Sports Flooring of the highest quality. In NSW these same ASF Horner systems are installed by Shoreline Sports Floors and the surface of the venue for the Netball Quad series is one of our sister company’s (Shoreline) completed and maintained projects. Read all about the game here…

Australia grind out victory over England to take Quad Series lead

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Almost five months to the day since England sensationally beat Australia to claim netball gold at the Commonwealth Games, a less-than-sparkling Diamonds team exacted their revenge, seeing off the Roses 52-47 in Newcastle to take the lead in the Quad Series.

Lisa Alexander’s charges may have won the first encounter between the nations since that watershed moment on the Gold Coast in April, but it was a grind. The win in front of 4,544 fans at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre also came with a big asterisk.

England were without Jo Harten, who was sidelined with a knee complaint, after getting a knock late in the Roses’ 52-39 victory against New Zealand on Saturday. England, with the NSW Swift recruit Natalie Haythornthwaite starting at goal attack in Harten’s absence and their Games hero Helen Housby back at shooter, settled quicker than the Diamonds and led 14-11 at quarter-time. An upset looked on the cards.

But once the Diamonds attack end hit their stride, thanks to the injection of Liz Watson for Kim Ravaillion at centre at quarter-time and a more settled Caitlin Bassett, who shot 37 from 40 at 93% accuracy thanks to beautiful feeding from Kelsey Browne, by half-time Australia had taken the ascendency 26-24.

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Alexander admitted the Diamonds were disappointed Harten was missing. “I must admit, yes we would have really loved that challenge,” she said. But, in the lead-up to the World Cup in Liverpool next July, Alexander said the side would work hard to simulate the Harten/Housby partnership in training.

Alexander played down talk of revenge and said Australia were thinking about the future, not the past. “It’s about establishing our way of playing, we’ve got a new group. For bits of tonight I thought we did that. But we’ve got work to do. It was a grind really tonight.”

When the sides meet again, on English soil, physicality will be a talking point. Alexander was not impressed with the “hit and bang style” employed in Newcastle. “It’s a very interesting style … closing off space really,” she said.“We’re not playing like that. We play with skill. We try to get our defenders going around the body, to the line of the ball, not hitting the bodies … I thought that was a little bit untidy tonight.”

Source: theguardian.com

Nellakir offer expert construction and maintenance of all timber sports flooring. Call now on 03 9467 6126 for an obligation free quotation on regular maintenance, renovation or refurbishment, or complete new construction of all sprung timber sports flooring surfaces. Or leave your details here and one of our technicians will contact you to assist you with your enquiry.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring of Champions

Netball Takes Centre Stage

The Netball International Quad Sports Series gets underway this weekend in the UK. It’s the final opportunity for players to impress the selectors before the Commonwealth Games selections are made for that competition which commences in April.

Played Indoors on Sprung Timber Sports Floors, this is the highest level of Netball Competition in Australia. Nellakir is proud to provide premium playing surfaces for Australia’s budding stars. Go Aussies!

Laura Geitz, Sharni Layton ‘still in the picture’ for Games netball team

COACH Lisa Alexander says Laura Geitz and Sharni Layton “are still in the picture’’ for Commonwealth Games selection as a Diamonds squad minus the two star defenders heads overseas for the first international netball series of the year.

Alexander had new mum Geitz and defender Layton, on the comeback from a long break due to exhaustion, at a training camp in Canberra and said both impressed.

“For Sharni to be back on court was an achievement for her. She was able to put some solid performances out there and that’s a tremendous thing for her. We are very proud of her,’’ said Alexander before flying out Monday.

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Sharni Layton

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Laura Geitz

“She is in the squad and still in the (Commonwealth Games) picture.

“Laura also did very well. She got through the camp successfully and many hard matches.

“I think she convinced herself she was able to play at this level again. She had to convince herself she could do it.’’

But while the pair are in the selection mix they are on the backfoot compared to teammates heading to the UK and South Africas for the January Quad series.

These 14 players have additional chances to impress selectors in matches against South Africa, England and New Zealand.

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Laura Geitz in action before taking a break to start a family.

“I want to see them still improving.’’ Alexander said. “It is a really challenging period but this group is up for it.’’

Australia’s first outings of the Quad series are against South Africa and England in the UK on Jan 21 and 23 (AEDT).

The Diamonds then head to Johannesburg to meet New Zealand on January 26.

Australian Diamonds in Quad Series: Caitlin Bassett, April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Paige Hadley, Emily Mannix, Kate Moloney, Susan Pettitt, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood.

Source: news.com.au

Commonwealth Games netball spots up for grabs in Quad series

Australian coach Lisa Alexander says there is pressure on every player in the Diamonds Quad series touring side to perform at their best against South Africa this weekend with Commonwealth Games spots up for grabs.

AUSTRALIAN netball coach Lisa Alexander says there is pressure on every player in the Diamonds Quad Series touring side to perform at their best against South Africa this weekend with Commonwealth Games spots on offer.

Alexander has a longstanding practice of selecting form over reputation with the four-team Quad series the last chance for players to force their way into the Commonwealth Games 12.

Australia is taking on the South African Proteas, the English Roses and the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the tournament – the last international series before the Commonwealth Games netball competition kicks off in April.

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Pic 4 – Stephanie Wood and Caitlin Thwaites of the Diamonds go up for the ball together in last year’s Constellation Cup with New Zealand.

Alexander says the three-match tour being played in the UK this weekend and South Africa next weekend is the final chance for players to cement their positions with competition within the squad at the highest level.

“There is a lot of pressure on their performance. It is very important how they perform here,’’ she said.

“The team is only three to four weeks away. They know what they have to do.’’

Alexander said the Diamonds go into the series with confidence after a highly successful Commonwealth Games simulation camp earlier this month.

“It was the best squad camp I have ever been a part of,’’ she said. The quality was spot on.

“They are fighting for Commonwealth Games selection and the athletes continue to improve and do their work. Everyone is still showing improvement.

Missing from the tour are defenders Sharni Layton and Laura Geitz who attended last weeks camp and are “still in the picture’’ for Games selection despite their absence from the international arena in recent times.

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Kayla Cullen of New Zealand and Gabi Simpson during Australia’s last international outing at the 2017 Constellation Cup.

Layton has been on a break for exhaustion with Geitz a new mother.

Australia are the defending Commonwealth Games champions after beating New Zealand at the last tournament four years ago.

MATCH DETAILS

Netball Quad Series – Test 1
South Africa Proteas v Australian Diamonds
Sunday 2.30am AEDT
Copper Box Arena, London
TV
Channel 9 2.30am AEDT

Source: news.com.au

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.